# Lincoln Chafee

Lincoln Chafee exits Democratic race

Former Governor and Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island ended his presidential campaign today, saying to a conference of the Women’s Leadership Forum that “the Republican agenda sets back women’s rights and I pledge all my energy towards a big 2016 victory for Democrats across the country.” Chafee was getting no traction in national or Iowa polls of Democrats, nor did he perform well in last week’s televised debate.

With Vice President Joe Biden ruling out a third presidential bid and Jim Webb ending his quest for the Democratic nomination this week, the primaries are shaping up to be a straightforward choice between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Martin O’Malley won’t have to fight with other second-tier candidates for attention anymore, but he has a lot of work to do to present himself as a viable alternative to the front-runners.

Chafee had been scheduled to speak last at tomorrow night’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Des Moines, and I was dreading the prospect of hundreds of people leaving the hall during his remarks. Way too many Iowa Democrats did that during Chafee’s speech to the “Wing Ding” in August and during Webb’s speech to the IDP’s Hall of Fame dinner in July. Such poor form not to hear out all the candidates, even marginal ones.

New Des Moines Register poll: Clinton 48, Sanders 41

Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders as the first choice of likely Iowa Democratic caucus-goers by 48 percent to 41 percent, with all other candidates far behind, according to a new poll by Selzer & Co. for the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg Politics. Jennifer Jacobs reported the main findings in today’s Des Moines Register. Since the poll was in the field before Vice President Joe Biden ruled out running for president again, the Register reallocated Biden’s supporters to their named second-choice candidate. Selzer’s previous Iowa poll showed Clinton ahead of Sanders by 37 percent to 30 percent with Biden in the field and by 43 percent to 35 percent without Biden as an option.

After the jump I’ve posted excerpts from Jacobs’ report, focusing on weak points for Clinton and Sanders.

Just 2 percent of respondents named Martin O’Malley as their first choice in the Register’s latest poll, behind “not sure” at 4 percent and “uncommitted” at 3 percent. Bleeding Heartland has a post in progress with my hypothesis on why O’Malley is getting no traction in Iowa, despite doing all the right things in terms of organizing and retail politics. Every time I’ve seen the former Maryland governor campaign here this year, audiences have responded favorably to his stump speech. I usually hear good feedback from other Democrats who have attended his events too, but it’s not translating into enough people signing supporter cards. Unfortunately for O’Malley, both Clinton and Sanders performed very well in last week’s debate, which drew record viewership for a debate featuring Democratic presidential candidates.

Jim Webb made the right choice to drop out of the race; the Register’s new poll showed him tied with Lincoln Chafee at 1 percent. Yesterday, Webb tweeted that it’s time for this country to “fix” the criminal justice system. I hope he will become heavily engaged in criminal justice reform efforts at the federal and state levels, instead of pouring his energy into an independent presidential bid.

The most shocking finding in the the Register’s latest poll: Iowa Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement is “good for Iowa.” Among likely Democratic caucus-goers, 39 percent said the TPP deal is good for Iowa, 27 percent said bad for Iowa, and 34 percent were unsure. Among likely Republican caucus-goers, just 27 percent said TPP was good for Iowa, 30 percent said bad for Iowa, and 42 percent were unsure. For decades, the Iowa business community and in particular representatives of Big Ag have spun “free trade” agreements as good for this state, so I would have expected much stronger support for TPP among Republicans.

UPDATE: Quinnipiac released a new Iowa poll on October 23 showing Clinton leading Sanders by 51 percent to 40 percent, with O’Malley at 4 percent. I enclosed below excerpts from the polling memo. Last month’s Quinnipiac poll of likely Democratic caucus-goers showed Sanders at 41 percent and Clinton at 40 percent.

Continue Reading...

First Democratic presidential debate discussion thread

In a few moments, five Democratic presidential candidates will take the stage in Las Vegas for their first televised debate. I wish the Democratic National Committee hadn’t stood in the way of scheduling more debates, starting this summer. Listening to DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz try to defend her stance in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer today, all I could think was, thank heaven for the “Big Blue Wall.” We aren’t going to win elections on Wasserman-Schultz’s strategic skills, that’s for sure.

All of the candidates are under pressure tonight. Hillary Clinton wants to change the dominant media narrative, which has been relentlessly negative about her candidacy for months. Bernie Sanders has his first substantial block of tv time to talk about his policies. In recent months, network news coverage has devoted far more air time to Joe Biden’s possible presidential bid than to Sanders’ actual campaign, which is drawing record crowds.

As the loudest voice for more debates, who has received relatively little media attention so far, Martin O’Malley needs a strong showing tonight, especially since the other debates scheduled before the Iowa caucuses are all happening on weekends, when viewership will likely be low. Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee will also want to break through to a national audience, but they are not building real campaign organizations the way O’Malley has done. Twitter user dcg1114, who posted this guest piece at Bleeding Heartland last month, noted today that the first debate of the 1984 election cycle gave Gary Hart his “first real sign of life.” In particular, that debate helped Hart improve his standing for the Iowa caucuses.

Incidentally, former Iowan and Democratic activist Tommi Makila wrote a blistering commentary contrasting O’Malley’s criticism of the DNC’s “rigged” process with the “rigged” Democratic primaries Makila has observed since moving to Maryland years ago.

Please share any relevant comments in this thread. I’ll update this post later with first thoughts on the debate. UPDATE: My impressions are below.

After the jump I’ve posted videos of the latest commercials Clinton has been running, as well as the debut tv ad the Generation Forward PAC put on the air in Iowa supporting O’Malley.  

Continue Reading...

Iowa Democratic caucus links and latest polls

It’s been a while since Bleeding Heartland had a discussion thread about the Democratic caucus campaign. After the jump I’ve posted highlights from the latest opinion polls of Iowa Democrats and other links on campaign infrastructure and strategies. Whether Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders is building a stronger Iowa organization so far is an open question.

Any comments about the caucuses are welcome in this thread.

Continue Reading...

Quinnipiac is first pollster to show Sanders leading Clinton in Iowa

Quinnipiac is out with a new poll showing 41 percent of likely Iowa Democratic caucus-goers favor Bernie Sanders, to 40 percent for Hillary Clinton, 12 percent for Joe Biden, 3 percent each for Martin O’Malley and undecided, 1 percent for Jim Webb, and less than 1 percent for Lincoln Chafee. Although several polling firms have shown Sanders ahead in New Hampshire, no previous survey has found him closer than 7 points behind Clinton in Iowa.

Quinnipiac’s poll surveyed 832 “likely Iowa Democratic Caucus participants” between August 27 and September 8, producing a statistical margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percent. Other Iowa polls in the field either during that window or a few days before it found Clinton leads ranging from 7 points (Selzer & Co’s survey for the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg Politics) to 11 points (NBC/Marist) to 25 points (Loras College) to 28 points (a Gravis Marketing survey that inexplicably included Elizabeth Warren).

Click here for the Quinnipiac polling memo and full results with questionnaire. The survey found “a wide gender gap among Democrats today as Sanders leads Clinton 49 – 28 percent among men, with 16 percent for Biden, while Clinton leads Sanders 49 – 35 percent among women, with 9 percent for Biden.” Clinton’s favorability rating of 76 percent is comparable to Sanders’ 78 percent and Biden’s 79 percent, but her unfavorable rating of 20 percent is much higher than that of Sanders or Biden (6 percent and 9 percent, respectively). Respondents rated Clinton higher for leadership qualities and “the right kind of temperament and personality to handle an international crisis as president.”

The Quinnipiac Poll’s assistant director Peter A. Brown compared Sanders to 1968 anti-war candidate Eugene McCarthy, because he is “the candidate of the Democratic left, against his own party’s bosses and their prized presidential candidate […] Sanders has seized the momentum by offering a message more in line with disproportionately liberal primary and caucus voters.”

DNC still can't justify its limits on presidential candidate debates (updated)

Four Iowa Democratic county chairs made cogent arguments today for expanding the number of presidential debates before caucuses and primaries begin. In an accompanying statement, 27 local Democratic leaders in Iowa joined the call for more debates, starting sooner this year.

As usual, the Democratic National Committee failed to offer a compelling defense for their unprecedented and ridiculous policy limiting candidates to six officially sanctioned debates, starting in mid-October.  

Continue Reading...
Page 1 Page 2